"Delete Houseparty!!! They are hacking into spotify, snapchat, and even online banking. Delete your accounts before deleting the app! (sic)"
Virtual hangouts with family and friends became the new norm after citizens across the globe were put into lockdown and self-isolation following coronavirus pandemic.
While online communication apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Zoom let you video call, enthusiasts came across an app unheard of that let you play games while seeing your opponent in real-time, face-to-face, and of course, virtually.
Houseparty, an app based in San Francisco, and owned by massively popular games 'Fortnite' and 'Gears of War' developer Epic Games, became the go-to app for several million across the world in the past few weeks.
With lockdown in place, the app recorded more than 2m downloads worldwide and topped the charts of iOS App stores in the US, UK, New Zealand among others.
But as more and more got hooked to the app, several users started reporting on Twitter that their accounts such as PayPal, Snapchat, Spotify were hacked after downloading Houseparty.
BEWARE! I know I’m not the only one with this problem! A few of my friends have been hacked by @houseparty if you look at the twitter feed! They log into your Spotify from Russia. Get your bank details and can hack it. It’s very simple once you click agree to terms and conditions pic.twitter.com/kBKU7dMUyd — ellieb (@ellielaurenb) March 30, 2020
EVERYONE DELETE HOUSEPARTY it’s literally letting hackers easily get into all your accounts (screenshots not mine except for the last one) i deleted my account a few minutes ago since they tried to hack my sister’s friend’s credit card pic.twitter.com/iqP8VCEPPD — cam⁷ (@LOSERL4NE) March 30, 2020
But are the claims true? Is Houseparty really hacked?
Speaking to The Sun, an Epic Games spokesperson said they had found no evidence that suggested a link between Houseparty and compromises of other aforementioned accounts.
As a general rule of thumb, the spokesperson also added that inputting strong passwords while setting up online accounts was advisable.
But as more and more users claimed that they or their friends were under Houseparty hack attack, the official Twitter account of the now-viral game took note and assured the service on their app were in fact secure.
"All Houseparty accounts are safe - the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites," Houseparty wrote in a tweet.
All Houseparty accounts are safe - the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites. — Houseparty (@houseparty) March 30, 2020
It did not stop at that. In a follow-up tweet on Tuesday, the app offered $1 million (Rs 7 Crore 50 Lakh approx) reward for proof of sabotage.
We have spent the past few weeks feeling humbled and grateful that we can be such a large part of bringing people together during such a hard time.— Houseparty (@houseparty) March 31, 2020
While many were still sceptical about the app, many others doubted the claims. That Houseparty was owned by Fortnite developers was used as a defence to quash the said rumours.
For y’all worried about Houseparty being an hack! It’s parent company is Epic games who literally produce most of your iPhone games. DONT WORRY THEY’RE NOT HACKING YOU. pic.twitter.com/vU1U3vMqnT — Faizal Jaye (@FaizalJaye) March 30, 2020
Highly doubt houseparty is hacking anyone, their parent company is epic games worth millions but they want to hack becki 18s Spotify premium good one — Nic Max (@Nicoleyy_9) March 30, 2020
I reckon this houseparty hack rumour got started by someone who caught their bae in a locked room with someone else for over an hour whilst in isolation and they got salty and wanted to cause dramas #HousePartyHack — (@hansriz) March 30, 2020
Imagine believing Houseparty can hack your online banking — SBA (@sabarehoboth) March 30, 2020
Of course, there were memes about the whole fiasco too.
the people behind this house party hack will be highly disappointed if they hack into my bank account mind — maisey davison (@maiseydavisonx) March 30, 2020
can houseparty hack into my google drive and do my coursework for me or is that not an option — hannah (@diannesluba) March 30, 2020